P&M Stan Shirt

Hello! It’s been a while since I posted, but it’s because I’ve been working on a quilt. That’s on hold while I wait for back-ordered fabric, so instead I’ve been working on new tops. I added a couple cropped Scout tees, both in white linen, but got an itch for something new. Cruising Pinterest, I happened on the Stan shirt by P&M Patterns. And BTW, Pinterest is my favorite place to find patterns and design ideas. If I search on linen dress or linen blouse sewing patterns, I get a nice feed. I think that the word ‘linen’ eliminates funky and weird designs, as well as all those knit tunic tops. So, here’s Stan, great project…

It’s really interesting, with lots of gathers and puffs, and many mix/match options. I decided on a plain shoulder, puffed short sleeves, and a traditional button band.

I admit I was a little stunned when I started working with the taped pattern pieces – this shirt is voluminous! As I recall, the original hemline was about 67″ around. Wowser. But the sleeve and yoke looked promising, so I set to work.

To reduce the volume, I courageously removed a lot of the width in the front bodice, both sides, and the back skirt. And I diminished the swing in the side seams. These were my major changes to the design.

Once the shirt was constructed, I shortened the hemline by 3.5″. The original length would be perfect for a tucked-in look, but I’m totally into the ease of cropped shirts this year.

Other sewing notes:

  • The instructions are thorough and sensible, with great illustrations and lots of tips on technique and construction. I used the English version and found the translation to be perfect.
  • I sewed the size 10 US/French 42. A major checkpoint was the width of the collar stand – I can’t abide a collar that’s too big around (the latter is why I never wore my Fabrics-Store Noa shirt). I printed and measured the stand before moving forward with printing all those pages (I really don’t mind, I enjoy cutting, taping, measuring and drafting with a good movie on TV).
  • The pattern includes 3/8″ seam allowances, but I drafted my tissue with 1/2″ allowances. Narrow allowances on patterns for woven fabrics are kind of a pet peeve for me. What if I make a mistake!
  • The armscye is a bit high, and I think it’s probably intentional to highlight the gathers in the sleeve cap. I simply used a 3/8″ seam to insert the sleeve and will adjust my tissue.
  • A tip – for a simple cuff with no placket, you can gather the sleeve edge into the cuff before sewing the under-sleeve seam. It’s way easier than doing it in the round after the seam is sewn!

My lovely fabric is cotton Swiss dot, so soft and drapey. I think silk, crepe, and viscose would work well, but anything with much more ‘hand’ or crispness just wouldn’t sync with all those gathers.

A note on interfacing: I used Pro-Sheer Elegance Medium fusible from Fashion Sewing Supply. I highly recommend all their interfacings, no shrinking or bubbling of the fabrics. Because Swiss dot is so lightweight, I interfaced both sides of my collar and collar stand, and used a single layer in the button band to keep it flexible.

And notes on the button band: this shirt has a 1″ wide button band, whereas the edge of my buttonhole foot is at 5/8″. A bright basting stitching down the center of the band really helps with sewing straight buttonholes in the right place.

I used 3/8″ diameter buttons to stay with the airiness of the fabric. And as usual I used a buttonhole with multi-stitched ends to prevent fraying. All my thread tails get sent to the back side and woven into the buttonhole.

I love this shirt!

Bye for now – Coco

New Year – Maxi and Cardi

Ah, the new year – it always takes me a bit of time to move on from my favorite season. And this year I’m determined to sew uplifting garments!

These are two of my favorite patterns, McCall 6747, and Helen’s Closet Blackwood cardigan, in a lovely Art Gallery Luna & Laurel Eye See You jersey knit. To be honest, it costs much more than I used to spend, approaching $20/yard. And I bought 5 yards. So I have to think about how much I would spend on a similar outfit, if I could find it. When the staff at my dentist asked where I bought it, that expenditure was fully justified! As an aside, over the last two years I find myself spending more for good quality fabrics, offset by the very poor quality of less expensive choices.

The line art:

I modified my M6747 years ago – removed the front placket and drafted cap sleeves. It is so easy to wear! And I drafted a new Blackwood pattern last year – moved up to a size XL. The cardi is close to the body and has very narrow sleeves. I’m pretty small, but I love the loose aesthetic of the larger size.

So – pics!


Here’s a closeup of the jersey. It really is delightful. I bought the first three yards, for the maxi, from Fabric.com. Having decided to make a matching cardigan, oh gosh, Fabric.com was gone. I found two more yards on Hawthorne Fabrics. And felt very fortunate.

Other endeavors in January, I sewed my daughter’s Christmas gift (we will get together in February, she lives far far away, almost in another galaxy…). This is the Mona and Broad Tarawi shirt – they draft specifically in the upside of the pattern size range. She’s wears size 20, has two other Tarawi’s, and she loves them. The fabric for this one is Bluejay Speckle Kaufman Shetland Flannel, found on Etsy..

Three weeks into the New Year, I hope you are all well and anticipating good things.

For now – Coco

New year, new directions

How I’m feeling!! As for many, I tend to get into a rut of comfort styles. But a couple days ago I put on a really svelte knit maxi dress and matching long cardigan – and went to my dentist. Everyone kept commenting on my outfit, they loved it. They even loved my white tennis shoes (how ‘in’ is that…).


Well, it’s a new year year, and for me, it will be a year of sewing and dressing for attitude: I like feeling attractive. Goodbye to my granny dresses – the Tessuti Lisa dress is my worst contributor, sorry, but on someone my age, it’s a granny dress. As is the Cali Faye Gardenia dress. Throw in there my half-dozen tunic tops with the same styling. Onward with dresses, skirts, pants, tops, whatever, that are not just stylish, but also let me appreciate that I really do pay attention to what I wear. I enjoy how that makes me feel.

I will be 75 next month, not at all sure how that happened, but in my heart I am 28, and I just love feeling stylish.

So – Happy New Year!! and I’m revve’d – Coco

Update on IGram hack…

IGram helped me to recover my account, which is nice. But I don’t plan to post there for now, just here on the blog. It kind of shook me up, a lesson in how easily a web persona can be compromised. On to brighter things!

Megan Nielsen Brumby Skirt

Oh, time flies – of course, since my last post we’ve had 2 hurricanes, Thanksgiving, and my persistent cold! However, I’m definitely having some fun in the loft. I’ve been in a skirt mood, perhaps due to the change of season. This is my take on the rather amazing Brumby skirt – check out those pockets!

I purchased this pattern in 2015, made a muslin, and for some reason it’s been aging in my stash for 7 years. Now I want more…

Out of curiosity, I did a second download of the pattern (I could not believe I could do this after so long, but there it was in my account on MNeilsen), and I drafted new tissue from the newest version. There are differences between the two: the sizing is changed from S, M, L, etc., to numeric 0 – 20. Sizing, measurements, and instructions are all much improved. The instruction booklet is not overwhelmingly large and image-ridden, it’s beautifully written and illustrated. And it even has a print-friendly section that is just the instructions, no graphics. I love love the latter. The only thing that bugged me a bit is that the pattern PDF is not layered, the printout has all sizes – that’s almost archaic for a pattern PDF these days. But Megan made up for it by including 5/8″ seam allowances, not skimpy 3/8″ allowances that are treacherous for woven fabrics.

Top: Simplicity 8889 Mimi G summer shirt, post here

Sewing notes!

  • My fabric is a beautiful Montana Grape IL019 softened linen from The Fabrics-Store. If you haven’t visited this shop, I hope you will – their fabrics are beautiful, and they offer loads of great patterns for linen (including freebies). Check out their Doggie Bags, pre-cut lengths of all their fabrics, deeply discounted.
  • I sewed Version 1, the ‘less full’ choice, in size 12. For reference, the finished hem width in my size for this version is 59″.
  • My design changes: The skirt has a contour waistband with an exposed back zipper. None of that appeals to me! I drafted a 40″ x 4.5″ waistband and worked out the mechanics of how to gather the skirt properly on the front and back. My front band is interfaced and plain, my back band has inserted elastic. I have to give a nod to Lisa at Tessuti for her blog post about using this approach. Very reassuring, and I always enjoys well-written pattern reviews.
  • Of course I wanted a maxi skirt, which meant a simple addition to the skirt front and back. Version 1 is columnar, not A-line as are V2 and V3, so the add was easy. And I used a 2″ hem allowance.
  • Part of the fun was the topstitching, done in a light grey for contrast. The design details really do deserve notice.

Mr. Alligator is still with me, no hurricane could move him.

Parting note – I ordered new labels from The Dutch Label Shop, just arrived!

Ciao! Coco

The journey – letting my hair grow out!

Not for the faint of heart – after 12 years of short hair, I decided to let it grow! I made the decision right after I cut my hair in late April. Oops. and I do have a rationale. My hair is very curly and wiry, more so since I let it revert to its natural white color. More and more, on its best days, when short, I needed to use products to dampen the exuberance. I despise and abominate hair products, just not for me.

The rest of the time my short do was not my favorite thing. Actually it got to be a bit depressing! I wanted to let it grow wild and free, kind of funky 🙂 Back when I started working, my hair was natural and very curly, as in the drawings I did in the ’70s, below. Remarkably, as I progressed in my career, I was under subtle pressure to tame down the beast…

Artwork, Lydia

This spring, I was inspired by Marilyn Davis, @Mazamattazz on Instagram. Gorgeous hair, go look.

So, pics along the way:

Looking over my photos in this period, I have been amazed at times by how many wrinkles I’ve managed to accumulate! But my wrinkles are all mine, and I definitely embrace them (I think…).

Ciao from hair grow-out central – Coco